The fun doesn’t have to stop even if the summer holidays do!

It’s easy for the whole family to feel a little down as the end of the summer holidays is approaching, and you’re buying back to school items instead of sun hats and flip-flops. If you’ve already starting grieving for the 'summer' that’s just gone, we’ve got some ways for you to keep the summer dream alive long past the holidays.

In the UK, realistically September should be pretty nice, and probably a fair bit of October, so don’t think that all that 'sunny weather' has been used up. Think about what it is that you like about summer - although the warmer days are nice, really it’s the activities and the freedom of choice that comes with it that is what we’ll miss.

Here are some ideas to keep the summer holiday mentality always with you, so you don’t spend the whole of Autumn and Winter pining for summer (at least not as much, anyway!)

Getting outside/keeping active
In summer, it does seem so much easier for the kids to be out and about, getting active without a lot of effort from parents. With sunshine, automatically comes football games, rounders and just being outside more. It’s easy to stop getting out as much once the sun has gone, but this doesn’t have to be the case.

If you’ve found that your children took well to a certain sport over the summer, try enrolling them into a proper team, whether it’s with school or out of school. Did they get into football or softball after playing with family over the summer? Have a look around for local teams or discuss joining a school team so they keep fit more regularly playing a sport they enjoy. If it’s indoor sports they'd rather play, have a think about gymnastics, squash or swimming!

For a free, regular running session, try taking the kids to junior park run on Sundays - it’s totally free, only a 2k distance and run by volunteers every single week, all you need to do is register and print off a bar code for each runner. There’ll be a park run in a local park near you, so find out where your nearest one is. They might even make friends too! (There’s also adult park run on Saturdays which is 5k, if parents want to join in!)

If you can’t get to a beach in Spain regularly (who can?!), you can still hit a more local beach on (fingers crossed) a warm day in late summer/autumn. We’re in Essex so not too far from Southend on Sea, which has lots to offer, even if it’s not the warmest of days. For something a bit more further afield, you could take a day trip to Brighton on the train. If it’s somewhere you’d prefer to stay overnight rather than do lots of driving, consider booking accommodation in advance that has free cancellation on a date that’s near to the booking date, in case the weather looks bad in the days leading up to the trip. Alternatively, if you live quite close to London, there are a few lidos around too, so see if there are any near you. They might not be a real beach but are pretty close to the real thing! Of course you have to be careful with the weather and it may have to be a spontaneous trip depending on weather.

Book something fun for half term
If the family is feeling glum about having to go back to school, you might like to get something all ready in the diary for half term, even though it probably seems like ages away at the moment! Thinking about what to do in half term will give you all something to look forward to. If you’ve spent all your cash on the summer holidays, try something like inviting different friends and family members round and having a fun week at home. Or even arrange a road trip hopping between various friends and family that you didn’t get to see over the summer.

Start an indoor project
A good way to do this would be to be to try up cycling a piece of furniture for the whole family or start a big jigsaw puzzle (if you’ve got space to leave it around). Try ordering some second hand furniture and teaching the kids basic sanding down and painting techniques to create a design you all like. If it’s difficult to get furniture delivered to you, get some quotes off Shiply before committing yourself.

An ongoing project like this could shave away boredom that comes with rainy days. There are also lots of new Lego projects that take a nice chunk of time to complete, like the Big Ben or Buckingham Palace kits that are fun for kids and parents to work on together.

Hopefully this has given you a few ideas to get working on as autumn approaches! Remember to stay active, get outside regularly and most importantly, have fun!

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